Dear friends on the journey,
As I write this in mid-January in ordinary time, I still have a bit of the post-Christmas “blues” that come after the sights, sounds, and smells of the magical holiday have been tucked away for another year. I miss the rainy cold weather that has given way to slightly warmer, windier days. I long for the feel-good stories of generosity and gift giving to strangers. Christmas brings out the collective goodness of humanity, when we care a little more for others, when we offer more kindness, and attend to the needs of the poor, hungry, and vulnerable. Various memes encouraging us to keep Christmas going by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the ill, welcoming the stranger, extending forgiveness…essentially the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
I was drawn to the words in today’s gospel “bring glad tidings to the poor.” During my reflection, I kept thinking of the Christmas carols singing about “tidings.” The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible offers this translation, “preach the good news to the poor.” This is what the Incarnation is about…God coming among us in the person of Jesus to bring tidings, the good news, to the poor, which is really all of us. At some time in our lives, we have or will experience poverty whether it be financial, material, health, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual. It’s inevitable. But part of Jesus’ good news is that God is with us through it, that God walks with us, providing comfort, strength, and hope that poverty and darkness will become abundance and light.
Being in this weird place of still holding onto Christmas and looking forward in ordinary time, those simple memes are our reminder to live the spirit of Christmas through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. How might you continue the spirit of Christmas, not just today but all year? How might you extend a work of mercy to another? How might you be Jesus for someone in poverty?
Here at Padre Serra, we have an opportunity to do just that. Our new Racial Justice Ministry has partnered with Friends of Fieldworkers, a local organization whose mission is to “befriend, celebrate and support families of fieldworkers in Ventura County” for a special project.
While our winters are mild, we cannot escape the cooler temperatures, especially at night. But you can provide warmth and comfort for our local farm workers and their families by donating a new blanket or sleeping bag next weekend. Simply drop it in one of the collection boxes before or after Mass next weekend or in the parish office by February 4.